Max Cooper - One Hundred Billion Sparks [Mesh]
"We are one hundred billion sparks. One hundred billion neurons whose firing creates feelings and ideas. One hundred billion neurons that make us all different yet connected." After spending a month in complete isolation at a remote cottage in Wales, Max Cooper presents One Hundred Billion Sparks, his third studio album, in which he interrogates notions of identity whilst profiling the complex mechanisms that make us all wonderfully unique. His previous album Emergence applied this reasoning outwards but for One Hundred Billion Sparks he applied it inwards. Conceptualised during a period of intense isolation, the album searches for artistry amongst the mechanisms, emotions and constructs which yield our identity and experience.
"One Hundred Billion Sparks is my attempt to express what was there after I had removed my everyday life. No phone calls, no emails, no messages, no human contact or conversation for a month, that was the idea. What I found were the constructs we live inside, the fables we tell ourselves about who we are and the systems which create us.”
As one of the leading artists exploring the intersection of music, science, art and technology, Max Cooper has sustained a reputation for providing insightful projects via sound, visuals and immersive installations. One Hundred Billion Sparks advances that reputation, with an artistic exploration of ideas communicating the marvel of our existence.
Supreems – Close Your Eyes (And Feel) [Lobster Theremin]
It’s fair to say that the lo-fi, dream house formula for music production that (perhaps started long before but) was made popular by the likes of DJ Boring, DJ Seinfeld and Mall Grab has become pretty tired. What sums this up best is the fact that none of the above are fully endorsing that sound in the way they used to - best seen in DJ Seinfeld’s last EP ‘Sakura’, which was a mix of alien house, techno, electro and bass sounds.
So it’s reassuring then that Belgium Lobster Theremin affiliate Supreems’ second EP demonstrates a similar kind of forward thinking. Supreems’ 2016 debut EP, ‘Us Together’ was definitely a good example of ambient melodies, touches of acid and raw, crashing kick drums, but two years later it’s time for something new. And ‘Close Your Eyes’ (And Feel)’ certainly delivers.
Despite the same emphasis on making music that is emotive and melodic, the follow up EP benefits from broken beats, punchier percussion, layered melodies and more experimentation. Indeed, the B1 ‘When Two Souls Reach’ feels almost closer to electro than house. Although, the pick, for me, is the B1 ‘Broken (And Out of Sync)’ as the most surprising of the bunch, with its use acid reminiscent of Omar-S’ ‘Frogs’, building melodies and hyperactive crescendo closing.
Matthias Meyer & Ryan Davis – Love Letters From Sicily [Watergate Records]
A favourite in Ibiza throughout the summer months, Matthias Meyer’s first original material of 2018 landed this month. Continuing his successful collaboration with Ryan Davis, the pair teamed up to create this lush house offering ‘Love Letters from Sicily’. It was nearly a year ago when these two graced with their hugely successful track ‘Hope’ on the Watergate XV various artist compilation. Matthias Meyer and Ryan Davis come together again to deliver a stunning production where infectious organic grooves pave the way for a flourishing well of emotions in the form of lush pads and shimmering sonics that unfold into a tale of epic cinematic proportions. From start to finish it’s a intimate piece of aural imagery, yet the duo always keep a keen percussive focus making it ideal for any dance floor moment.
Roisin Murphy & Maurice Fulton - Jacuzzi Rollercoaster / Can’t Hang On [The Vinyl Factory]
The collab between Roisin Murphy and Maurice Fulton that started out earlier this summer has to get a mention. She’s got a great voice to overlay on house tracks, back in the day there was a great remix of ‘Simulation’ by Mano Le Tough that definitely knocked a few peoples socks off (I won’t name names you know who you are). This time she's teamed up with big swinging producer Maurice Fulton and I feel like she's struck gold. Together they are putting out a 4x12 series (this is the third instalment) and have already garnered remixes from JD Twitch and Daniele Baldelli, not to mention the single ‘Innocence’ in their first instalment which is a complete ripper.
Murphy gives a bit of background in a recent interview with Fact Mag: “These tracks are “about dancing,” shares Murphy. “My kind of dancing: all low and funky, allowing itself to be a little out of control. It’s all very simple in a way but Maurice has spent a lifetime immersed in music for dancing. His experience and depth of knowledge is undeniable. I did as I was told!”
In terms of the release itself it’s another disco classic. ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’ is full of post-Brexit vocals alongside Fulton’s deep guitar rippers and poundings from the bass guitar. Next we have ‘Can’t Hold On’ which gives a more acidic baseline backed up by pretty sweet drum solo.
I really like how Roisin Murphy has shaken things up this summer through these collaborations with Maurice Fulton and other things like the two-day residency at London’s The Store X. It’s definitely worked out for the best. Be sure to grab all the releases from Vinyl Factory whilst you can! Make sure you check out her other releases here, ‘Innocence’ is a personal fav!
Craig Bratley - The 99.9% EP [Futureboogie]
Stalwart of the scene, Craig Bratley, serves up big Italo flavours all over the ‘99.9% EP’, ably backed with a remix from Mr. Andrew Weatherall.
With previous releases on Neil Diablo’s To Rack & Ruin, Tsuba, Is It Balearic? and Robsoul Recordings, Bratley’s Futureboogie debut opens with the searing synths and chugging arped bass of ‘99.9%’. Wide-eyed melodies and punchy drums demand a mirror ball moment to this fabulous cut. YO favourite, Andrew Weatherall, takes the chugging tempo to new depths, remoulding the track into a tense, reverb soaked, dubbed out sci-fi encounter.
Further explorations into space disco are to be found on ‘Italo Love’ with luscious waves of thick analogue sound and planetary FX, whilst on ‘Take Me To Bedford Or Lose Me Forever’, distinct Asian influences are at play, as Bratley channels his inner Vangelis for a mesmerizing and cinematic piece.